It’s the Microsoft Surface Duo, and it runs Android.
Not quite a foldable smartphone, it’s more like two displays connected together, like the ZTE Axon M or the LG V50 ThinQ 5G.
But this is Microsoft’s first Android-powered smartphone. And it’s not a prototype. It’s an actual smartphone that will be available, but not in 2019.
The Microsoft Surface Duo Runs Android
The Surface Duo is an interesting device for a few reasons. Firstly, because it is Microsoft’s first smartphone running Android. And secondly, because it’s another attempt at a foldable device, even if it is just two screens that are attached.
According to the images that Microsoft showed of the device during its keynote today, it does look to be pretty heavily skinned, to look like Windows 10 X. So don’t expect a stock Android device from Microsoft, unfortunately.
And of course, it does come with a number of Microsoft apps pre-installed. This is a Microsoft phone after all.
Microsoft is announcing this now as a preview device, so that developers can get their hands on it and start developing for this new form-factor. That way when the device does launch next year, there are apps that support the dual-display form factor here.
It’s not surprising, but there are some pretty large bezels on the Surface Duo. Mostly the forehead and chin. Those, hopefully will be shaved a bit before the device launches next year. But this is aiming to be more like a tablet, so those larger bezels are going to make it easier to hold onto while watching a video or playing a game.
The bezel between the two screens is quite small, fortunately.
It’s a foldable phone, without the issues of a foldable phone
If the Galaxy Fold and Mate X have taught us anything, it’s that foldable phones are hard to make. And are still a few years out from being mainstream. But the step in between a regular candy-bar phone and a foldable phone, is a dual-display phone. Like what Microsoft has here.
It has a 360-degree hinge, close to the Huawei Mate X. But because it is a dual-display device, it actually folds flat, and there is also no crease in the middle of the display.
There are two 5.6-inch displays on the Microsoft Surface Duo, but it did not mention which version of Android it’ll have. Though, considering it’s not launching until “holiday 2020”, that doesn’t really matter right now, as it should launch with Android 11.